What is your background like?
I was born into a Christian home and have consistently walked with the Lord more than 60 years. I’ve been married 44 years to the same woman, and am a father to four adult children and five (and counting) grandchildren. I live in Goode, VA, about 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love being able to get out on my motorcycle into those beautiful mountains.
During my journey I’ve earned lots of academic degrees, all from legitimate, fully accredited schools. I have a BA in English from the University of Delaware, a M.Div. from Denver Seminary, an MA in Psychology Counseling and Guidance from the University of Northern Colorado, a Ph.D. in College Student Personnel Administration (College Counseling), and a Ph.D. in Family Studies with an emphasis in Fathering from the University of Delaware. I have been on faculty at Greenville College (IL), St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and am currently on faculty at Liberty University (VA). I was a residential faculty member there for eight years and now teach for them online.
I also spent sixteen years in the pastoral ministry at Immanuel Church in Wilmington, DE; five years as an Associate Pastor, and eleven years as a Senior Pastor.
In addition to teaching for the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies in the graduate school at Liberty University, I also provide pastoral counseling at Wyndhurst Counseling Center in Lynchburg, VA through Spiritual Interventions, Inc. I also do deliverance several times a week.
I’ve written It’s Only a Demon: A Model of Christian Deliverance (BMH Books), and was the co-editor with George Ohlschlager of Transformative Encounters: The Intervention of God in Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care (InterVarsity Academic Press). Among my publications I’ve written articles on deliverance for Christian Counseling Today and Leadership Journal (a publication of Christianity Today). On the Liberty University Digital Commons website my work has been downloaded more than 14,000 times. Link To Liberty University Digital Commons – Dr. David Appleby
I’ve also been involved in the deliverance ministry for nearly thirty-five years and have worked with more than 2000 people. I have also personally been through deliverance myself several times.
How did you get involved in the deliverance ministry?
Very few people volunteer to become involved in the deliverance ministry. Most of us get drafted. I first encountered deliverance when I was in seminary in 1973 when my pastor asked me to come in and pray while he worked with a young woman. It was interesting, but strange.
It wasn’t until I was in the pastoral ministry as an associate pastor responsible for counseling that I began to work with good Christian folks who were seeking to follow the Lord with their whole hearts but with no success. It was frustrating for me, since I couldn’t seem to help them, even with my having an M.Div. and MA, and a PhD and years of experience counseling in different professional settings. These people would try to do everything that I recommended, but nothing changed.
This lack of success drove me to the Scriptures, where I began to look for incidents of the transformative change that I believed that God could provide. I discovered that change was often connected to deliverance. I started to read some books about it, but there were no available resources that explained to me how to do it. This was before the internet. So I just started, trusting God to direct me. By God’s grace people’s lives were changed instantly. It was then that I realized that this was the component that had been left out of the therapeutic process. As the years went by a model began to emerge from my work that resulted in a presentation entitled Deliverance as Part of the Therapeutic Process. It was first presented at the American Association of Christian Counselors Regional Meeting in Philadelphia in 1995. I have presented at their World Conference several times since then.
When I left the pastoral ministry in 1999, graduated with my second Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in 2002, and moved to Lynchburg, VA to be on the graduate faculty at Liberty University in the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies, I found that the demand for this kind of ministry was increasing. As a result, I formed Spiritual Interventions, Inc. in 2010 for the purpose of providing biblically based and psychologically aware ministry and training of the highest caliber. That is our daily goal.
What are you talking about when you say “demons?”
I am talking about evil spiritual forces that seek to destroy everything that God loves. That would include you, your family, and your friends. These creatures slip into us as a result of generational involvement (coming down through our parents), occult involvement (messing with stuff that we shouldn’t be messing with), trauma and victimization (bad stuff that has been done to us), and long-term sin (not the “Oops, excuse me Lord, I’ve slipped today” kind of sin.”) These spirits often come in as helpers, as demonic coping mechanisms that ultimately result in greater levels of bondage.
Wait a minute! My pastor says that Christians can’t have demons!
As they say where I live, “Bless his heart!” but that simply isn’t true. He probably never studied it in seminary and, because he is unfamiliar with the whole field, has just decided to avoid the whole issue. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help those in God’s family who are tormented by demonic spirits.
A Christian cannot be “possessed” by a demon because he/she is already possessed by God and has the Holy Spirit living within. However, a person can be tormented by demonic spirits that have found a home in us. Unfortunately, these don’t simply disappear when we become believers, any more than our history disappears as a result of our becoming a believer. The Bible calls this being demonized.
Demonization is expressed on a continuum, going from a little (Can’t find peace with the Lord and satisfaction in the Word or in prayer, etc.); medium (Fear, anger, resentment, lust, shame, guilt, loneliness, sense of being abandoned, etc.) to high (Uncontrollable thoughts, suicidal thoughts, irrational behavior, etc.). All this often goes on while we are busy “living the Christian life,” and going to church, attending a small group or Bible study; in short, faking it in the hopes of making it. However, we know that we are a fraud and that, in spite of all that we do, nothing is changing and we know that we are stuck.
Are you saying that deliverance is like a magic wand?
Not for a minute. As we tell every client, “If you come in and are messed up (psychological term for relational issues, destructive behavior, etc.) when you leave you will still be messed up, but you won’t be demonized. For what remains we refer you to Christian counselors, who can do a great job of teaching you how to think and behave differently once the demonic stuff is gone. If you have a physiologically based disorder (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.) God is perfectly capable of healing you, but, if he does not, you will not be demonized. We would then send you to the medical community for help with these disorders. The result of deliverance will be that you will be you, perhaps for the first time in decades, whatever that looks like. From that point, healing can begin to occur.
Deliverance does not fix everything, but it will change your perspective on everything, your life, your problems, and those with whom you share life’s journey. It will return to you the ability to make decisions, for good or for ill. It will be your call.
What can I expect from this?
I don’t know, as each person’s situation is different. We make no promises, as we are not the one who is doing the intervention. That’s God’s work. We get to be his instruments. Some people see small changes that continue to emerge over time. Others see dramatic changes instantly. We can’t predict what will be the fruit of this ministry. You can see the wide range of change reflected in the testimonies.
I’ve seen deliverance or exorcism on television and in the movies. Does it look anything like that?
Fortunately not. Satan wants us to be so scared of the process so that we are more terrified of being delivered than we are of being tormented. The vast majority of our sessions resemble intense multi-hour counseling sessions. I am a very quiet person and not given to extreme anything.
What other services does Spiritual Intervention, Inc. provide?
In addition to doing deliverance several times a week at various SII centers in VA, I also do “clinics” at various locations. A clinic is when a group of people all decide that they want to receive deliverance and that it would be less expensive for all of them to share the expense of bringing me to their location than it would be to have each one come to Virginia and pay for travel, hotel, food, etc. These clinics can last multiple days.
I also take every opportunity to train people in the basics of deliverance. I offer various training sessions with a hands-on demonstration to churches, counseling centers, or just groups of people who want to start of deliverance ministry in their area. I am also available for follow-up and support for both fledgling and established deliverance ministries.
I also provide support for troubled churches. Because of our experience with spiritual, church, and social dynamics we offer consultation services to pastors, elders, and other church leadership.
Spiritual Interventions, Inc. also provides pastoral counseling. Dr. Carmela O’Hare (see Founder and Friends) has a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Regent University (VA) and can provide counseling services face-to-face, through Skype, or via telephone. She is also an expert in inner healing, using Theophostic Prayer Ministry. I also provide counseling through Spiritual Interventions, Inc. or through Wyndhurst Counseling Center.
If you have any other questions that are not answered on this page, feel free to email me and I will get back to you as soon as I can.